Fight for freedom or corporate overlords in Mars Tactics, a scrappy cross between XCOM and Red Faction

Finally, a game set on the red planet that lets me fight for those who really matter: the shareholders. Mars Tactics is an upcoming tactics game that lets you choose between conquering the planet as oppressed Red Faction-esque workers or as a bunch of soulless corporate mercs. While both the Labor and Capital factions have their own playstyles, what makes the game feel unique is its campaign map.

You'll fight for the red planet one square at a time, taking control of vital facilities, assets, and bases, only zooming down into turn-based tactical battles when you have to shoot some guys and explode stuff. Mars Tactics' battlefields are highly destructible—you can drop an airstrike on enemies hiding inside buildings, blow away cover, or even blast yourself a hole in the sand where your troops can hunker down against gunfire.

It's all part of the game's scrappy approach to combat. You can steal actions from enemies by suppressing them, chuck equipment to allies such as grenades or ammo, and can even transfer initiative between soldiers for extra actions if you want to make a play. My favourite mechanic is pilfering equipment—you can yoink extra clips or a far fancier gun like an LMG from enemies you've dispatched. Hijacking vehicles will also give an upper hand, as will capturing prisoners for valuable military intelligence.

If you're a tactics aficionado, you possibly played the demo yourself as part of Steam Next Fest last year, or the Endless Replayability Fest that finished recently. The new PC Gaming Show trailer shows off the game's base-building and campaign mechanics, which look to have even more depth than the battle system.

As the war escalates, you'll recruit more troops, research deadlier technologies, and construct new buildings to fuel the ever-raging conflict. You'll also be confronted with narrative events and have to contend with faction mechanics, such as Labor's ability to customise weapons, or Capital having to wait for its new toys to be shipped from earth.   

The added strategic layer of campaign management and base-building is a fun twist on your typical tactics game, so I'm pretty excited to see how this one turns out. If it's piqued your interest, too, you can wishlist on the Mars Tactics Steam page. 

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.